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A Badge of Dishonor

A Badge of Dishonor

Not everyone supports the war in Afghanistan. It’s annoying, considering that people who spoke out against the war in Iraq claimed that the reason was because we should be fighting in Afghanistan. Now we are fighting in Afghanistan, and people are talking about how we should pull out of there too. It’s not surprising, but it’s still annoying.

When you discover that some of the people saying we shouldn’t be there turn out to be family members of our troops, it’s infuriating. Imagine my surprise when I find out that family members of the Marines in my husband’s unit, currently deployed to Afghanistan, have been saying these things.

There are several online forums, mostly on Facebook, for unit family members to try to keep informed. They aren’t official unit pages, but family members can go on there to talk to each other and try to find support or keep themselves infomed. I’ve been noticing over the past few weeks that there have been a lot of comments about how we shouldn’t be there, that it’s a lost cause, and that we just need to bring them all home. I’ve noticed that, for some reason, it’s mainly moms saying these things, too. And while it’s a very small number of unit family members saying these things, I’ve quite frankly had enough.

My husband calls home and every now and then, he’s demoralized. He’s tired, he’s hungry, he’s dirty. Marines in his unit have been killed, and other Marines have been injured. He misses me, he misses being home, and he doesn’t want to do it anymore. I tell him, every time, that I support him and his mission. That I’m waiting for him. And I remind him of why he joined the Marine Corps, why he was willing to fight. I remind him of what he’s fighting for. It lifts his morale and it gives him his motivation back.

When their sons call and tell them the same thing that my husband tells me, I wonder what these women tell them. Do they get told about how we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan? Do they get told about how we should pull out? Do they get told that this war is not worth fighting? I can only hope they keep their opinions to themselves — or that their sons never see their comments on Facebook — because what they are basically telling their sons is that their sacrifice is meaningless in their eyes, that the deaths of their fellow Marines were meaningless. I can only imagine how demoralizing it must be to know that the family you have back home, the people you likely are fighting for, don’t support you and the sacrifice you’re making.

One mom mentioned that she had asked everyone she knew what they thought about the “debate”, about whether or not Afghanistan was a lost cause that we should just pull out of. She somehow was puzzled that none of the military men in her family would comment. Gee, I wonder why.

Do they not get it? You cannot support the troops without supporting their mission. It’s as simple as that. And of all people who don’t support our Marines and their mission, the family members of those Marines should be their most ardent supporters. It breaks my heart sometimes. As it’s been explained to me by my husband and various other Marines, they don’t think America hates them. They think that America just doesn’t care. I used to argue so passionately against that, but I’m starting to think I know where that attitude comes from.

I remember sitting in an algebra class in high school when the speakers crackled overhead telling all faculty to stop what they were doing and turn the televisions on in every classroom. A plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center buildings. We were stunned, but just assumed it was a mistake. Then we watched as another plane flew into the second tower, and it suddenly became clear. It became very clear. The next few days were emotional and terrifying. I spent much of 9-11 crying, like most of the students at my school. I cried in the days that followed, watching footage of people jumping to their death to escape the fiery inferno inside the towers. I cried hearing of the heroism of the passengers on Flight 93. I cried listening to the phone calls of passengers who knew they were going to die and wanted to tell their loved ones “I love you” one more time. I cried for the heroes who ran into the buildings while everyone else was running out. The country, as a whole, wept and grieved and vowed to never let this happen, ever again. I, along with many other Americans, knew that this meant war. Many people, my husband among them, reacted to the horror of 9-11 by joining the military. They wanted to fight for their country, to avenge the deaths of their countrymen, and to make sure that this never happened again.

Islamic extremists have been trying to kill us for more than 30 years now. During the Carter presidency, American embassy staff were held hostage in Iran. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut were bombed, killing almost 250 American servicemen. There was the first WTC bombing in 1993. In Somalia, also in 1993, 18 American troops were killed and the body of one was dragged through the streets while Somalians cheered. In 1996, an Air Force housing complex was bombed in Saudi Arabia. US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed. The USS Cole bombing happened in the year 2000. All of these attacks were perpetrated by violent Muslim extremists. 9-11 didn’t come out of nowhere. It was a long time coming. We ignored what we saw happening for over 30 years and pretended that if we just left them alone they would stop trying to kill us. It culminated in the worst attack on American soil ever on 9-11.

But now, with almost 10 years without any attacks on American soil, people are already calling for us to stop the fight. It’s not from lack of trying — from the shoe bomber to the underwear bomber to the Times Square bomber, they’ve kept on trying to kill us. Luckily, we’ve been able to thwart those attacks. You’d think it would be a reminder that this war isn’t over, and that it won’t be over until we eradicate the threat of Islamic terrorism. Did anyone really think we could do that in just a few years? It’s going to take time, it’s going to take a lot of sacrificing. We’ve got a 30 year mess to clean up. For some of us though, it’s a sacrifice worth making.

This is why my husband and I both support this mission. We choose to support it. I am five months pregnant and I don’t want my son to ever have to go through a 9-11. We want a better future than this for our children. We can stand up to this threat, finally, or we can ignore it like we did for the last 30 years and let our children deal with it. Which do you support? Me personally, I’d rather take care of this now, even with the sacrifice that requires, than pass the buck on to my children to carry and endure.

Others, I guess, actually were content to pass the buck onto their children, and now they find the sacrifice too great. The solution for them is apparently to keep hiding their heads in the sand and just let their grandchildren handle it 20 years from now. I find that unacceptable.

The worst part about this, though, is that people who should be supporting our troops more than anyone else apparently cannot. These are our brothers, our sons, our husbands, and while it’s annoying when ordinary Americans can’t support our troops, it’s unforgivable in my book for family members of our troops to not support them. If this is how they feel, then they need to keep their mouths shut and their opinions to themselves until this is all over and done with. Can you imagine how unmotivating it must be to know that your own family doesn’t support what you’re fighting for? I can’t think of anything more demoralizing. To me, this is a badge of dishonor. We have one Cindy Sheehan. We don’t need any more.

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  • Marilyn says:

    Well said, Cassy.

    I used to belong to a group of Army moms while my son was a soldier fighting on the ground in Ramadi, Iraq, before it got civilized.

    Some of these moms would come in crying and whining about how hard things were for their sons and how unfair it was their babies had to endure military hardships and how inhumane some of the things were and wasn’t there something they could do to get their sons out…and…and…and…

    I’m sorry to see it hasn’t changed and I sure hope their sons and daughters *don’t* see what they are saying. They’d be so ashamed.

    This is one mom who gave my son the thumbs up every chance I got. Kept my tears to myself. Put on the war face and kept on keeping on.

    You are a blessing to your husband and the corps! God bless and protect you and your family.


  • Eric says:

    I appreciate your passion and zeal, and especially the sacrifices your husband is making. But I would feel better about our campaign in Afghanistan if Palin was commander-in-chief.

  • DavidL says:

    Afghanistan is a tough nut to crack. There is no nation,only a motley collection of tribes. So nation building is virtually impossible, and all the more so on an Obama time frame. However while we can not build a secure peaceful state in Afghanistan, neither can we allow it to again become an training camp and staging area for Islamic militants.

    Afghanistan will require patience, leadership and plenty of coherent explaining, all of which are in short supply. We have had troops stationed in the Republic of Korea for sixty years now. It may take as long in Afghanistan. Hope I am wrong.

  • John Walters says:

    “You cannot support the troops without supporting their mission. ”

    If that’s true, then the slogan should not be “support our troops (because we love them)” but rather “support the mission (and the troops who execute it).”

  • DougFunnie says:

    Bravo Cassy !
    The American people have short memories
    As long as it doesn’t effect their lives, they don’t care
    If another attack happens on our soil, then they will care
    They are usually the first ones to cry “Oh my God,why doesn’t somebody do something”
    I’m glad your Marine knows he has someone at home who has his back
    They should all be so lucky

  • MattL says:

    You actually sort of support Obama’s position. Stay in Afghanistan and keep fighting. I don’t agree with this. Many do not agree with the war. But that does not mean [and rarely ever means] we don’t support the troops. Goodness! Many of us support the troops to such a degree we want to see them alive and back home with their families. So yes you can support the troops and want them back. It is okay for there to be a disagreement. It’s not like they are hated by their own family.

    This, of course, is an un-traditional war. Some say it is not winnable and some say the cost is too great. It doesn’t mean we can’t try. Note that you can overthrow a government but that terrorism itself cannot be stopped by fighting a war. The Afghan’s themselves have to find a way to rout out the terrorists. And it will take time. Should we stay their and help them do that? It’s debatable.

    Best to you and your husband.

  • SicSemperTyrannus says:

    I support the troops and I support their mission. I don’t support sending our troops into harm’s way with their hands tied by overly restrictive rules of engagement.

  • Randy says:

    So if you do not support the mission you cannot support the troops. Then logic requires that you must support the commander in chief of the troops as well. Like obammy supports the troops — he could give a big crap aout the troops period. His main concern with the troops is eliminating “Don’t ask – Don’t tell”. He is more concerned that fags are in the military than supporting the troops. So as far as I am concerned if obammy supports the mission then it is the wrong mission and a waste of American blood and treasure.
    Why do we need troops in afghanisan? it costs the taxpayer over a million dollars a year for every soldier in afghanistan. Great return on investment. The mission should be troops on the mexican border because mexicans are taking all of our jobs, filling our emergency rooms when they have a cough, getting paid college tuition, getting food stamps, committing over 30% of crime, bringing in tuberculosis, etc.
    I am sorry that 3000 americans got killed in 911 but that does not justify taking away our freedom… “TSA molests 3 year old girl” — but will not screen a middle eastern person because that would be racial profiling. Also remember hundreds of thousands of troops sacrificed thier lives since 1776 to give us our freedom or what little remains.
    Al Queda is just a facade to frighten americans to give up thier freedoms for “security”. The war on terror is just a waste of our troops lives and about as effective as the war on drugs.
    Afghans barely have the resources to live, let alone travel thousands of miles to the United States to set a bomb off. Those camel herders over there offer no threat and want to be left alone. Yet we are threatened by illegal invaders every day. Pull the troops out of Afghanistan and put them on the mexican border to truly protect us. THAT SHOULD BE THE MISSION! Only problem is the big military industrial big wigs and bankers would not make profits off our troops sacrifices. Yeah and remember those were not people from afghanistan or iraq that attemted to set off bombs in the usa. Since the 911 bombers were from egypt and saudi arabia — why have we not invaded those countries? Afghan fighters seem to be able to successfully detonate IED’s over there but al quida just does not have the expertise to detonate a bomb in the us. al qaida is more homeland security bs from o’buckwheat. But at least with obammy we do not have to be afraid of toner cartridges because of his determination to protect the American people!
    As you say, “But now, with almost 10 years without any attacks on American soil, people are already calling for us to stop the fight.”
    Buthow many americans have been killed by MS13 mexican gangs, illegals driving drunk, catching exotic diseases, …. in that same 10 year period. Yes I can support the troops by praying they are not maimed or killed without supporting the communist obammy and his mission. It is called FREEDOM!

  • Dan Kauffman says:

    It goes back a lot further than 30 years we are engaged in a resurrgence of a very old War. The Muslim Empire met it’s first
    and greatest defeat when the King of Poland arrived with his personal levies and turned the tide of Battle at the Gates of Vienna on

    Sept 11, 1683

    Did you think that dates was random????

  • Dan Kauffman says:

    Everyone mouths platitudes about whether the War on Terrorism is winnabble

    Terrorism is a tactic the WAR is between Dar Al Harb (The House of War= us) and Dar Al Islam (The House of Peace=Submission/Surrender)

    It’s between us and Islamic Jihadism and we CAN lose that War

    They engage in generational conflicts and during this century a great chunk of Europe is going down, I prefer to fight them there now rather than here later

  • Roxeanne de Luca says:

    These are our brothers, our sons, our husbands, and while it’s annoying when ordinary Americans can’t support our troops, it’s unforgivable in my book for family members of our troops to not support them. If this is how they feel, then they need to keep their mouths shut and their opinions to themselves until this is all over and done with.

    That is just good manners. (Yes, manners are for family, too – or perhaps especially family, because they enable people to live together in peace.) Cassy isn’t asking for anything difficult or revolutionary – just to treat people (who deserve it more than almost anyone else) with dignity and grace.

  • Rebecca says:

    This is one of the best blogs I have read on this subject, thank you for writing it. While my husband was deployed last year, it seemed like everyone felt they just HAD to tell me how they disagreed with the war and how wrong it was for us to be there. It is that much more demoralizing when it comes from the people who are supposed to support you, such as family and friends. I cannot thank our troops enough for what they have sacrified over the years for our country. Thank you to your Husband for his service and to you for supporting him.

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